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The Vatican 2000

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In 1998 Czeslaw Slania made a private engraving of Pope John Paul II, his fellow country-man.  The engraving is shown here, signed by Slania, and carrying No. 251/500.  This engraving was a test work with regard to the release of official Vatican stamps in 2000, celebrating the Pope's 80th birthday.  Slania's skill in capturing the lights and shades of a portrait with his burin is fully displayed, both in this private portrait of the Pope, and on the stamp.  In the same set was issued two stamps, featuring the The Black Madonna from Czestochowa and a Silver Crucifix (the top of the Bishops' Baton).  The stamps are a joint issue with Poland

According to Slania, he made separate plates for both countries, because they are printed from different printing presses (Vatican City is printed by Swedish Post and Poland by Poland). 

Many thanks to Mr. Chong Meng (Singapore) for submitting the above information. 

  • The Vatican 2000.  
    Pope John Paul II at the occasion of his 80th birthday. 
    The very dark-violet background colour matches the 
    sacral colour of the Church.  Scott # 1153

Slania's private engraving of 
Pope John Paul II.

The private engraving was auctioned away in Poland in January 2002, and by decision of Mr. Slania the proceeds from the sale was donated to charitable purposes for Polish children.

Scott # 1154

Scott # 1155

  • The Vatican 2000. 

    • The Black Madonna from Tschenstochau.

    • Silver Crucifix (the top of the Bishops' Baton).

Some countries have released stamps of the same design and subject as Czeslaw Slania's engravings.  In 1997 a joint issue between Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and The Vatican was released in commemoration of St. Adalbert, Archbishop of Warsaw 956-997, also known as "The Apostle of Prussia".   His original Polish name was Sv. Woiciech.   The Polish stamp is engraved by Czeslaw Slania, whilst the stamps from the other four countries are engraved by local engravers.  

Below is shown a first day cover, cancelled by the five countries involved.  On the cover the Vatican's cancellation is at top left, please see the cancellation to the right.  

  • First Day Cover 1997.   Feast of St. Adalbert.  From right to left:
    Cancellation from The Vatican;  Hungary,  Czech Republic, 
    Germany, and Poland.


  • First Day Cancellation 
    23rd April 1997 
    from the Vatican. 

First Day Cover with a cachet showing St. Adalbert, and stamps of similar design issued by 

cancelled 23rd April (his feast day) 1997 in each of the countries.  

St. Adalbert was a native Czech (from Bohemia).  His correct name was Wojciech (Czech). During his education and study in Germany (Magdeburg and Mainz) he got the German (and Christian) name Adalbert. From Mainz he was sent back to the Czech lands to become the first bishop of Prague. From here, he started his mission to christianize the Prussians in the today Poland.  The wife of the Polish duke Mesek I was Doubravka, a daughter of the Bohemian king Boleslav II.  She called him to Poland where he was also a bishop (besides the one in Prague).  St. Adalbert is buried in Gnesen (Gnezdno), Poland.  

The original Polish set is displayed in the section about Poland (Polish page 3) on this site. 

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